I have always struggled with what is right for the children and simultaneously what is good for me – that crazy intricate balance between the home and work. What is my so-called raison d’etre?
The story so far: I went from a full time working mother, to a work from home mother, to an independent consultant, to a stay at home mom and ran full cycle back to being a full time working mother (Phew!! You telling me!!). Today circumstances have given me another run at being a stay at home mom.
So here I’m again, with nothing else to do other than ‘just’ being a mother to my two brats.
The best part – Iam enjoying ‘just’ being a mother.
Nowadays, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for a mother to just be a mother and nothing else (as if that is a crime by itself!!). Somehow the ‘stay at home mother’ needs to explain more today than ever, as to why she is not doing more with her life.
Technology allows us to work from anywhere so why should this mother not make use of her time!!! And there are many more such reasons that are cited to this ‘just a mother’ –
-Someone said children would appreciate and respect you more when they are older if they knew that you followed your dream work rather than sat at home and catered to their needs.
Err..nooo… My mom was a stay at home mom and speaking strictly as her child, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Her creativity and intelligence shown through in her fabulous art work, her masterchef cooking and managing the home oh so meticulously. Not to forget she was ALWAYS there (and I mean not just emotionally but physically) whenever we needed her. So again, as her child, that is about the only way I would have it and for the record my sister and I have oodles of respect for her.
-Another person said its additional income.
Sure, money can make the world go round but money has never been able to buy love. Never. This point really begs of a very philosophical debate – How much money do you/ your children need? How much money will make you / your children happy? Less money has never truly diminished happiness within the child as long as they had the company of their loving parents.
-The illogical reason – What have you studied so much for…just to sit at home?
Hmmm. Have you ever really seen a mother ‘just sit at home’. Even if she has an army of helps, and even if you just may catch her sitting, I can bet my imaginary millions that her mind is not sitting but whirring away, finding unique and loving things to involve her children in, thinking up a healthy meal for her family, trying to be an efficient organizer… very much like a CEO who is ‘sitting’ behind her desk!
-The one that prompted me to find work – now that your children are going to school, you would surely have lots of ‘free’ time, so why not make it constructive.
When the cat is away, the mice really don’t have all that time to play. Really! That’s the time we may rush in for a quick shower, cook up a meal, make the house presentable, run household errands, pay the bills and be ready just about in time to receive the kids when they return from school– much like the CEO’s efficient secretary.
-The one that irks me – You have help / support at home so really you shouldn’t be at home.
Okkkk. So my ‘job’ was just to deliver the baby and hand it over to someone! Sure its great that there is so much help available but that need not drive you out of the house if you don’t want to; and if you like to work there is no better arrangement then family coming together to support your passion.
There are probably many reasons for a mother to work- from a need to work, to wanting to work, to loving working and more but surely not because of any of the above reasons.
It has taken many work combinations for me to finally realize that above all else I love to be with my children as much as I can be. I love my mornings with them (inspite of all the rushing and prodding them to get a move on, Peanut with his 5 more minutes of playtime, Buttercup with her breakfast). I enjoy driving them to school (inspite of Buttercup insisting on opening the car window regardless of heat / pollution and Peanut insisting on only 1 track to be played). I love picking them up from school (this I really missed when I was working. I missed their excitement at seeing me and not being able to wait another micro second longer to tell me all about their day in their animated ways (even though I really cannot understand much thanks to both of them insisting on talking at the same time). The afternoons are not my favorite time (Yes there can be whole time frames that I don’t necessarily enjoy about motherhood)– there’s a certain lull and laziness in the afternoon and keeping up the energy levels gets tough but soon its early evening and its fun taking Peanut and Buttercup for their walk / park / play time (inspite of ticking them off numerous times to not put muddy fingers in their mouth). And then comes bath time- who doesn’t love peels of laughter and water splashing (inspite of coming out with wet clothes and increasing tiredness -only mine! God only knows what the kiddos energy source is). Of all the time in the day I look forward to reading them their bedtime stories (not because they will be asleep soon 🙂 but because it’s the most peaceful time, least noisiest time and we are all snuggled into bed together, listening to Peanut’s rational but innocent questions and Buttercup’s ‘why’ on anything).
I get upset, angry, frustrated with them from time to time but tell me another job in the world which doesn’t carry some levels of frustration and do tell me another job in the world where you get paid in lots of smiles, love, kisses and hugs everyday. Not to forget, having to answer your children’s sensitive, intelligent and philosophical life questions (Why don’t we just order some money? Why is the planet next to the sun not burnt, if the sun is so hot?…) that you have not braced yourself for and that needs your grey matter to work overtime. You see, it’s not just an emotionally satisfying experience but also a mentally stimulating perk to ‘just’ being a mother.
So today I love being a stay at home mom, not because the children want/need me but because I love to / want to be their stay at home mother.